DIY Halloween Costumes

As a parent, I do not like spending money on cheap things for myself or for my family.  I think that overall it is a waste of money.  I would rather save and buy something that costs a little more, but is better quality.  This is really true when it comes to Halloween costumes.  Last year was the first year that my children kind of understood that they had to dress up and walk around to get candy.  So off we went to the stores to find the costumes that they wanted to wear.  My son wanted to be Jake from Jake and the Never land Pirates, my daughter it didn’t really matter.  After checking out a few stores, I was shocked at the poor quality of the costumes.

I really didn’t want to spend the money on those cheap costumes.  I proceeded to call my mom and ask her if we ever bought our costumes and if so, were they always that cheap.  She informed me that we always made our costumes.  She explained that it was cheaper and better quality to make our own, it may have not been exactly the same, but we didn’t know the difference.

So off to the fabric store I went with a picture of Jake in my hands.  We were able to create my son’s costume with a pair of sweatpants, a white t-shirt and some fabric.  Was it exactly like Jake?  No, but my son thought it was great.  So what is going to happen this year?  This year my son is going to be Batman, and my daughter is going to be a flapper.

Here is how we are going to do it and not buy a specific costume.  My son is batman, which really includes an all black outfit, a belt, cape, mask and a batman logo on his chest.  So he will have a black shirt, black pants, I have already made him a cape, the belt and logo I will be making using a pattern online.  The only thing that I didn’t really want to make was the mask, so my wonderful husband picked up a perfect better quality mask for $5.  He will have the whole outfit for less than $15.  The best part is that he will be able to wear the shirt and pants many times over.

My daughter is going to be a flapper, which is really a fun dress with fringe on it.  We picked up a pink one at a consignment event for only $12.  It is a little big, but she can wear it more than once.  The best part is it is a Children’s Place dress.  All I need to make or buy is the headpiece.  So for less than $15 she will be a flapper.  The best part is that she will be able to wear it again and again.

So how can you make your child’s Halloween costume this year?

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Product Review: Leapfrog DVDs

I am a firm believer that you can’t get away from technology.  It is all around us.  I mean my three year old knows how to use the Ipad better than I do.  With that being said, I am also very conscious about what my children watch or do.  I also love technology that can teach my children in a fun way.

One of the educational DVDs we allow our children to watch is the Leapfrog DVDs.  They have a few different ones and honestly all of them are great!  Both my son and daughter request theses shows and I gladly put them on.  They have learned their shapes, colors, alphabet and numbers through these dvds.  It is a great addition to what we already teach them in a fun way.  Especially for my son, who really is a visual learner and needs more than just activity books.

This includes affiliated links

Tips for Potty Training

So we now have 1 potty trained child and 1 that is very close to starting.  There are some tips that I have learned over the last year to help ease the process.

  • Start early: It is okay if you didn’t, but start now.  Start by putting them on child on the potty, whenever you change their diaper.  Don’t force it if they don’t want to, you don’t want to have a negative affect.
  • Ask often: Ask them if they have to go often.  Some recommend every 15-30 minutes.
  • Change them often: I know that this is a no brainer, but change their diaper after every time they have told you they have gone.
  • Take them every time they ask: Every time they ask to go, take them.  Encourage them, even if you know that they went 10 minutes ago.  You want to encourage the “feeling” they may have until they figure out the actual feeling.
  • Be patient:  They are learning, they will make mistakes and will have accidents
  • Wait until they are ready: If you try and push them too early, you will have more accidents and have more issues.  Wait until they show signs and understanding of going on the potty.
  • Once you put them in underwear do NOT go back to diapers:  Some days and weeks it may seem like there are many accidents or that they don’t know that they need to go or even regress.  DO NOT put them back in diapers.

There are some things that I have done that I feel have helped.  We cloth diaper with an all natural insert that lets my daughter know when she has gone.  She feels it and there is no pulling away that happens with disposable diapers.  We take my daughter when we take my son to go potty.  Every time she tells us she went pee we sit her on the potty.  We also stop using diapers all together.  Within a couple weeks after my son requested underwear, we took the diapers away during nap and bedtime.  It was rough the first week or so, we had to change the sheets almost every night, but he now wakes up and goes.  We also don’t make a big deal if he doesn’t make it to the potty.  We understand that he is still learning.

Climb out of the Darkness

So June 21, 2014 is Climb out of the Darkness which is where people all across the world are walking, hiking and more in promoting perinatal and postpartum depression and anxiety.  I will be participating in this absolutely wonderful event.

Please support me through this wonderful event either by walking or hiking or through here.

Insights

I decided early on that we would take a family vacation every summer, no matter what our financial situation was.  We booked inexpensive trips like camping at the Jersey shore or driving to Tennessee and camping nearby so we could go to Dollywood.  We drove to Florida and stayed at an inexpensive condo outside of DisneyWorld.  It lacked the convenience or the “status” of staying in DisneyWorld, but my kids had a great time on a shoestring budget!

We cooked out on the grill on our camping trips, saving on meals.  We shopped at a local supermarket and ate sandwiches.

We went to local parks, the zoo, visited friends, went to the pool.  I did backyard Olympics with my children and their friends and we did crafts together.  They swung on trees, rode their bikes and played with friends.

Angela DiCicco

Mother of 3, Grandmother of 2

This Works for Me- Traveling Safety

Painter’s Tape- Use it to cover open outlets in hotels, families houses or where ever you are.

Traveling Baby Gate- Evenflo has a travel baby gate that folds up to the size of two poles.  It even comes with a carrying bag.

Portacrib or Pack-n-play- A safe place for your child to sleep

 

Do you have any other safety items you have to bring?  Let me know!

Why I Love Having Children Close in Age

When I tell people I have two children two and under, I normally get some sort of response of sympathy.  Having my children so close in age was something that my husband and I decided consciously to do.  We wanted them to grow up together and be at the same development age range.  Yes we knew that it was going to be difficult and more work on us, but my youngest is almost a year old and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

My siblings and I were 3 years apart and my mother did that consciously.  She only wanted one child in diapers at a time and that is what she got.  As we got older I remember that there were a few awkward years where we didn’t want to be around each other, or we were at different stages in our life.  Like the ages between 3, 6, and 9 or 16, 19, 21.  My sister at 3 couldn’t do or appreciate the same things as my brother at 9.  When we were teenagers we didn’t want our siblings to hang around us because it was “uncool”.  Now only in our 20’s can we appreciate each other and hang out like friends.

I didn’t want my children to go through those phases.  I wanted them to always be at the same level or at least some where around the same level. Since my son is only 16 months apart from my daughter, he is still learning a lot himself.  When we teach him something new, we also have an opportunity to teach my daughter.  He loves to help her learn.  He will interact with her while playing with his educational tools and teach her what he knows.  It is extremely heart warming to see.

For me it was easy to make the transition from one child to two.  I was already in the diaper, not sleeping through the night, not communicating well mode, so what was one more.  I was also able to use all my baby items without having to worry about them expiring or storing them for long periods of time. I know for a lot of people it is hard to see how have two children so close can be wonderful.  I am not going to lie and say that it is all wonderful, but overall I wouldn’t change it for the world. What are your thoughts on the age difference between siblings?

Ashley

Toys Children Play With

It was the day after Christmas and two days after my son’s second birthday, where he got tons of toys for presents and what do we see him play with?  The box and peanuts a package came in on Christmas Eve.  Yep that is right, he wasn’t playing with any of his new toys….he was playing with a cardboard box and peanuts.  At that point my husband and I were reminded that kids don’t really need a lot of fancy gadgets or toys that light up.  The best toys are the boxes that the toy comes in.

I have noticed that he doesn’t play with gadgets very long that he goes for the classic toys like nesting cups and wooden blocks, that those toys keep his attention much longer than the electronic toys.

Technology is wonderful, but sometimes it is too much and good old fashion toys are still the best.

What toys do your children play with?

Ashley

This Works for Me!

  • Store small books in plastic napkin holders- it makes it easier for young children to get them out.
  • When old parts of toys turn up, put them in a plastic bag- that way when you notice the toy with the missing part, you know where to look.
  • To preserve posters, pictures, and other items cover them with contact paper- this is durable and easier for children to handle
  • Instead of using tape on the walls to hang items, use toothpaste- It can be washed off after each use
  • For art projects you want to hang on the wall, tape it to the table while your child is working on it- it prevents it from moving and it is ready to go up on the wall.
Reference:

Do you have any tips or tricks that work for you? Please share!

Ashley

St. Nicholas

On the eve of December 6th, children would put their shoes outside their room in hopes that St. Nick would fill them with goodies.

St. Nick legend was that he helped a poor man with his three daughters dowry in order for them to get married.  Not wanting to embarras the father, St. Nick decided to go in the night and dropped off the three sacks of gold, one for each daughter.

This is something that not only did I get to do at home, but I also got to do it at school too!  It is a fun way to keep the holiday spirit alive throughout December.